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  • Category: American History
  • Words: 763
  • Grade: 100
African Americans in The Civil War and Spanish American War

        African Americans were not always a major part of the Armed Forces. They were not a big factor in the military until the Civil War, when The Emancipation Proclamation opened the door full-fledged for Blacks to participate in the military. Both black slaves and freemen saw this opportunity to serve in the military as a chance to relinquish their chains and to help the nation develop as a whole. There was widespread resistance by whites on both the Union and Confederate sides in accepting Blacks as part of the military. Blacks joined the military for a variety of different reasons including challenge, education, manliness, job opportunity, and to escape living conditions. By the time The Spanish-American War came in 1898, African Americans were already participating in the military. When the U.S. beat the Spanish they received Spain's colonies. This sets up the initial stage of the U.S.'s Empire. This essay will tell prove that with the help of African Americans the U.S. military is stronger as a whole, as shown in the Civil War and Spanish American War.
Leadership and honor were some of the prime reasons that African-Americans wanted to serve in the U. S. Military. When the island of CUBA was seeking its independence from SPAIN in 1898, the black military units were ready to serve. It took the explosion of the American battleship, the U. S. S. Maine, killing 260 Americans (22 which were black) on February 15, 1898 in Havana Harbor that the United States a reason for declaring war. The preparation for the war was fast, and on April 24, 1898 declared war on Spain. Congress also activated ten regiments of all black troops. Only four of the regiments saw action in the short war. It was no surprise, under the circumstances, that among the first units ordered to Cuba were the four black regiments. They were selected primarily on the basis of recent experience and their record on the Plains, but there was also the judgment of the War Department that blacks were immune to the diseases of the tropics and capable of more activity in high, humid temperatures. This thinking resulted in an effort to recruit blacks for the war. The soldiers themselves welcomed the opportunity to demonstrate their qualities and win respect for their race. These regiments were vital parts in helping America defeat Spain.         African Americans served in the Army and Navy during the Civil War. Two major events during this period were President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, which provided freedom for the African-American slave, and the establishment of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment.
The contributions of African Americans during the Civil War included more than 15,000 sailors serving aboard various ships of the Union Navy, and 100,000 in total military service. At Hampton Roads during the first battle of ironclad ships, the U.S.S. Monitor and C.S.S. Merrimac, African-American sailors were among the crews.

The most important war African-Americans fought in was the Civil War. The war resulted in the ending of slavery. The war was between Northern industrialists and Southern Slave owners to determine who would be able to expand into the new territories of the West.
The federal government and the Union army began to encourage the recruitment of Blacks when it became clear that the war would be a long and drawn out conflict in which it was essential to mobilize all the resources possible and to weaken the enemy as much as possible. Even then Black troops weren't really used. In July 1862, Congress authorized the use of black soldiers in the Civil War, but there was no follow-up until January 1, 1863 when Abraham Lincoln put the Emancipation Proclamation into effect.
After the Emancipation Proclamation, the War Department began the enlistment of Black Americans. During January 1863, the War Department authorized Massachusetts to raise two Black regiments. Because of this nearly 200,000 Afro-American soldiers were serving the army and an additional 300,000 were serving as laborers, spies, servants or general helpers. Before the end of the war, there had been 154 Black regiments formed in the army, of these 140 were infantry units.
By the war's end there had been barely a battle where Black soldiers had not fought. Due to their heroic courage in that battle, thirteen Black soldiers received Congressional Medals of Honor in one day. "In all, twenty African-Americans received the medal in recognition of their efferts in combat during the Civil War.




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